Jessica Goodwin was among those who let out a cheer in front of Augusta University’s Maxwell Theater as the sun in partial eclipse emerged from behind a dark cloud, only to see it covered up again as it approached.
“I’m kind of disappointed I can’t look at it but it is still pretty cool,” said the freshman student from McDonough, Ga.
Even though Augusta was outside the path of totality, the city was still going to see a more than 99 percent coverage until dark clouds intervened. Still, across the city, people were gathered at different spots to don their eclipse glasses and take it in.
Kevin and Karen Timbers were sitting with drinks in hand on a couch in the midst of the crowded Rooftop Bar at the Partridge Inn, preparing for the eclipse in a modern way.
“We took an Uber down here so we didn’t have to drive,” Kevin Timbers said. In what turned out to be a preview, Karen Timbers looked up and groaned.
“Oh no, here comes a cloud over the sun,” she said.
“We’re going to enjoy it anyway,” her husband said.
Virginia Todman was out front of the Maxwell Theater and managed to use her eclipse glasses over the camera lens of her phone to snap a decent photo of the sun.
“That is pretty,” she said, looking up at the crescent. “It is like a bite in an apple.”
As it began to get darker, the temperature started to drop slightly and the crowd got a little quieter.
“I’m starting to feel a nice cool breeze,” said Eugenia Ryans of Augusta, who was watching with the students. At the height of the partial eclipse, the clouds turned very dark and looked as if it would rain. Toniqua George, a freshman from New York, said she heard “all of the crickets and bugs” start chirping in the trees nearby. Vrunda Patel, a sophomore nursing student, brought along her four-month old Labrador mix puppy, Newton, who became kind of an experiment of his own.
“When it was darker, he was restless,” she said afterward. “He could probably sense something was wrong.”
For her part, Patel had kind of a mixed reaction.
“We saw some crescent, I guess,” she said. “I thought it would get completely dark so I’m a little disappointed.”
North Augusta threw a watch party on the fourth floor of the Municipal Center. City employees ate lunch and watched the eclipse from the observation deck.
Janice Livingston, a city volunteer and local artist, wore one pair of eclipse glasses and used another to shield her phone’s camera.
“I got a few good ones,” she said.
Jacquelyn Wright, a North Augusta Department of Public Safety dispatcher, put on her eclipse glasses, sat down and tipped her head back, feeling the sun’s warmth and watching the moon slide slowly into position to block it.
She was working the night shift Monday but got up early to check out the sky show.
It never got completely dark in North Augusta, but looked like a brightly moonlit night when the eclipse reached 99 percent totality.
Many of the children lost interest after looking through their glasses a few times and began an impromptu game of chase inside the Palmetto Terrace, where it was much cooler.
Another group watched from the top deck of the Medac parking garage next door.
After a week of practicing eye safety and learning about the eclipse, students, parents and faculty were in and out of classrooms watching the eclipse at Euchee Creek Elementary School in Columbia County.
At the front of the school, fourth grade math and science teacher Jennifer Douglass discussed different observations students were picking out during their class’ time lapse experiment.
“It’s been amazing. Last week we learned all about how the Earth and the moon move. This week, we were ready. We had this time lapse project, we came out at 1:11 and then we came out at 1:15 and we were recording it inside on charts,” Douglass said. “We saw the crescents through the shadow of the tree which is something we researched and knew to look for. So we are just excited, this is just neat.”
A viewing party at the Lady A Amphitheater, which offered free eclipse glasses to the first 200 people, brought Latoiya Bates and her 6-year-old son Leland Bates.
“I’m just glad that my son, who is 6, will get the opportunity to see it and me I am 42, so I am glad that I will get to see it because I think the next one that passes from the west coast to the east coast, we’re not going to be here,” Latoiya Bates said.
The pair were decked out with eclipse glasses and their own T-shirts they hand-made the night before.